Lee and I rarely take trips just to take trips. Most often they are tied to a conference or business meetings. Last year we took two (TWO!) trips that had nothing to do with business and they were so awesome we thought we'd try to keep it up. Business did end up getting tacked on to this trip, which wasn't ideal (hey, we're a work in progress) but we did have a great time during the non-business weekend.
First, we took the train. Somehow we'd never been on the train together before. We've taken subways, of course, but not passenger trains. I've been trying to convince Lee for awhile now that taking the train to Toronto is awesome and I think I made progress this time.
Toronto has a lot of great places to eat and often we try to check them out. We didn't do that so much this time. It was COLD and I'm tired of COLD so we pretty much settled for eating wherever was close. This meant a late lunch at the Loose Moose and while our nachos were exactly what we needed, my Lake of Bays Old North Mocha Porter was the winner.
We stayed at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre for the first time in about five years. They have the best pillows of any hotel chain we've stayed in. Plus our room had this nifty window seat. I love a window seat.
A weekend trip to Toronto is not complete without a trip to the St. Lawrence Market and a veal sandwich from Uno Mustachio. (The veal and eggplant is actually their specialty, but neither of us is crazy about eggplant.) We decided that next time we are going to split one so we have room to sample other goodies.
Then it was off to the Hockey Hall of Fame. I lived in Toronto for just over two years and somehow never made it there. It was pretty quiet for a Saturday morning, but I guess maybe the cold was keeping people home. We marvelled at how much gear, especially helmets and goalie pads, have changed. We had a moment of nostalgia entering the reconstructed Montreal Forum dressing room. (By we I mean me because Lee had never been to the forum.)
I got a Canadian Heritage Minute stuck in my head. He changed the face of hockey forever.
I enjoy hockey, but I'm far from a hockey trivia person. That was quickly made evident when I attempted one of the trivia games. *ahem* I still really enjoyed the Hockey Hall of Fame. (Even if Lee did beat me at table hockey. HMPH!)
By the time we leave the HHoF we were ready for some lunch. Then it was back to the hotel for a swim and some rest before our night at the theatre.
The theatre was the whole reason for this trip. Last fall I saw an announcement that Dame Angela Lansbury would be doing a run of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirits in Toronto. She won a Tony for her performance in the role of Madame Arcati in 2009. I really, really wanted to see her on stage.
I know most people remember Lansbury from Murder, She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher is the role that made her a household name. But I have fond memories of her playing Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Elizabeth Taylor's older sister in National Velvet. And then, of course, she was the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Angela Lansbury was part of my childhood and having the privilege of seeing her perform on stage wasn't something I could turn down.
She was, unsurprisingly, fabulous.
The audience applauded every time she stepped on stage. Her performance was a pleasure to watch, but we really enjoyed the whole cast. Edith, in particular, frequently made Lee laugh. We had to wonder if they felt conflicted about their roles. On one hand, it has be fantastic to work with someone like Angela Lansbury. On the other, she has a supporting role and the play does not work without strong performances from the rest of the cast. I hope they feel appreciated.
Sunday was originally supposed to be the day we went home but instead we switched hotels so Lee could be closer to his business meetings. The time between check out and check in had us wandering down Yonge Street, where we bumped into one my former Montreal roommate. I'm not sure what it is about Toronto but I randomly bump into people I know there more than any other place.
The rest of the afternoon was just spend wandering and browsing in stores. I showed Lee the super secret way to Whole Foods, which isn't super secret at all. It just involves alleyways that are far fancier than alleyways have any right to be. We had a "quiet" dinner of pizza in our room, which really wasn't quiet at all because we were watching a documentary that made me yell at the television. (Hey, it happens.)
All in all, a fabulous weekend. And here's hoping our next trip to Toronto will be a lot warmer.